Liam Talbot has claimed his second Australian GT Championship race win of the season after taking the flag at Barbagallo in Race 1.
The Mega Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R racer rocketed to the front of proceedings following a mid-race safety car to control proceedings for the remainder of the 60-minute encounter.
“It feels unbelievable to get the second win on the trot,” Talbot enthused, having also claimed victory at the final race of Round 2 in March.
“It is a complete team effort around here, you need to come the right strategy and I believe that the two wins in a row are down to the strategy by Mat Nilsson and the Walkinshaw GT3 team executing perfect pit stop today.”
Talbot had started in seventh, and remained in contact with the front of the race throughout the early stages before emerging second behind Tony Walls after his pit stop.
At the start, pole-sitter Ash Walsh moved into the lead before extending an advantage in the Supabarn Supermarkets entry over stable-mates Kelvin van der Linde (Valvoline Jamec Pem Audi) and Daniel Gaunt (Kentucky Fried Chicken Audi).
Points leader Roger Lago made early progress too, the JBS Australia Lamborghini driver passing Peter Major (PM Motorsport Lamborghini) on lap two, before a spin a few corners later left him stuck in the gravel trap.
It triggered the safety car, after which Walsh again assumed command of the race and opened a solid advantage at the front of proceedings.
A second safety car as the pit window opened, for Greg Taylor in the GT Motorsport Audi which came to a halt on the front straight, triggered a flurry of pit lane activity.
Tony Walls emerging as the race leader in the Objective Racing entry, though his time out front was short lived as Talbot soon put a move on the McLaren at Turn 6 to take the lead.
Once out front, Talbot was never headed and built a ten second advantage, ultimately crossing the line more than seven seconds ahead of Fraser Ross (YNA Autosport) after easing off in the closing laps.
Having been passed by Talbot, Walls found himself under intense pressure throughout the remainder of the race.
First, Ross found a way through, then a fired-up Geoff Emery hunted down the McLaren driver, the duo crossing the line side by side; Walls hanging on to third from Emery in fourth.
It had been a stirring recovery from Emery, who raced back into contention for a podium after serving a drive through penalty.
Emery and the WM Waste Management Services Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Max Twigg waged a ferocious battle, the duo running nose to tail for lap after lap.
While Emery could close into the first half of the lap, Twigg then opened the advantage in the second part of the lap, making for a nail-biting battle which eventually saw Emery seize the place.
Twigg went on to finish the race in fifth place, ahead of the Ash Walsh/James Koundouris Audi.
Lago’s retirement also sees Talbot move into the lead of the Championship standings, the Mega Racing driver now holding a slender points advantage over Lago at the halfway mark of the campaign.
The result also sees Talbot start from pole position for tomorrow’s second 60-minute race alongside Ross.
Race 2 starts tomorrow at 11:30 (AWST), and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports, channel 506.